Home » Australian Curriculum » Libraryspace+Techspace+Makerspace

Libraryspace + Techspace + Makerspace

I’ve been so looking forward to Eductech and it has not disappointed! Tomorrow at the conference, Jackie Child and I are talking the makerspace which we’ve created in our Junior School Library at St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School in Brisbane. Here is me eating all the displays at the trade fair. I also accidentally are the Starburst that I was meant to use an electricity conductor #fail.

gumballs In much the same way as we did at our recent webinar and journal article for ALSA, we’re going to take delegates through how and why we’ve gone down the makerspace route, and the benefits that we see for our school community, in particular for engaging our students and giving them control over their own learning. Our particular focus at Edutech is on how we are incorporating things like coding, robotics, electrics and other ‘new’ technologies #hightech with options which are #lowtech – lots of cardboard rescued from the recycling, items from kerbside collections (yes!), masking tape and time in our Earth Angels garden.

We have a responsibility to follow Australian Curriculum and the question is often asked – well how do you fit all this in? We don’t sleep! Nah…joking #sortof. My teaching partner Jackie Child, talks in-depth on her blog about how she fits makerspace ideas into the Humanities and Social Sciences Curriculum (specifically Geography)  and together, Jackie and I have spent much time looking at the Digital Technologies Curriculum and the English Curriculum to ensure that everything we do is aligned with the Australian Curriculum. Inquiry based learning, project based learning – whatever you want to call it – is embedded throughout the Australian Curriculum and the makerspace idea is all these things. We believe that it is just a matter of doing things differently, innovating on what we have already being doing for years now – and trying, failing, trying again and celebrating the successes we, and our students, experience as they learn.Twitter

21st Century libraries and those teacher librarians who embrace the digital age, are in a great space at the moment; libraries are repositories of information and teacher librarians are in a key position to help students navigate the complexities of digital (and non-digital) information. Resources for our students are not now just on a shelf (though let’s not ever throw out all the shelves) and teacher librarians can work in partnership with curriculum leaders and IT teams to resource the curriculum.
If you are just starting on your makerspace journey in your school or library, Jackie and I highly recommend the following resources (click on covers to purchase). These texts (texts, real paper books people!) contain the theoretical understandings which underpin everything that we do in our school before we began our journey we really did read these from cover to cover. We now talk the talk so that we can walk the walk with the support of our school Educational Leadership Team and with full confidence that we are still ticking every box that a teacher needs to tick.tweet

Below this list of teacher reference texts are the books we have used with students to develop a love of tinkering and introduce the ideas and the language of making, trying, failing, trying again, succeeding.

Click on titles or cover images to purchase any of the titles below.

Teacher Reference Texts


‘Invent to Learn’ has probably been the book we’ve used most in developing the theory behind our particular makerspace in our Junior School Library. It’s very much a teacher text – and a gutsy one.


In ‘Creating Innovators’, education expert Tony Wagner explores what parents, teachers, and employers must do to develop the capacities of young people to become innovators. He profiles young American innovators such as Kirk Phelps, product manager for Apple’s first iPhone, and Jodie Wu, who founded a company that builds bicycle-powered maize shellers in Tanzania and looks at how the adults in their lives nurtured their creativity and sparked their imaginations, while teaching them to learn from failures and persevere.


‘The Art of Tinkering’ is a celebration of what it means to tinker: to take things apart, explore tools and materials, and build wondrous, wild art that’s part science and part technology. Join 150+ makers as they share the stories behind their beautiful and bold work-and use the special conductive ink on the cover to do some tinkering yourself!

the-maker-movement-manifesto (1)

‘The Maker Movement Manifesto’ is a guide for makers, hackers, crafters, pro-ams, inventors, and entrepreneurs–from one of today’s leading figures of the Maker Movement. Mark Hatch looks at cost-effective ways anyone can use to create new product, make positive changes in society, and earn great money while they do it. This one is a ‘inspirational’ books for teachers and the parent community.


‘Unbored’ is one of those books we’ve used as both teacher text and a student springboard – lots of fabulous ideas for activities for the modern child. This one is being enjoyed by all…in fact it’s mostly been at my house, as my husband has been reading it! This is a hefty tome, packed full of hands-on activities that are the best of the old as well as the best of the new: classic science experiments, crafts and upcycling, board game hacking, code-cracking, geocaching, skateboard repair, yarn bombing, stop-action movie-making—plus tons of sidebars and extras, including trivia, best-of lists, and Q&As with leading thinkers whose culture-changing ideas are made accessible to kids for the first time. Just as kids begin to disappear into their screens, here is a book that encourages them to use those tech skills to be creative, try new things, and change the world. And it encourages parents and teachers to participate. Really love this one!

super-scratch-programming-adventure-covers-version-2 super-scratch-programming-adventure-

The ‘Super Scratch’ books above have been the starting point for Jackie’s Coding Club, and for us both to understand how coding can and should be taught in the educational context.

Student Texts

There are so many books which inspire children to tinker and help children to understand that mistake making is part of the process of creating and our favourites are listed below. I have also talked about some of these books on 612ABC Brisbane and you can here this interview with David Curnow here.




Oh hello….we MET Sylvia and went on #fangirl on the poor little mite! Sorry Sylvia! Super-Awesome Sylvia is a kid who loves making, tinkering, and art. Her Web video series, Super-Awesome Sylvia’s Super-Awesome Maker Show, has millions of views. In this super fun book, Sylvia teaches you to understand Arduino microcontroller programming by inventing an adjustable strobe and two digital musical instruments you can play! Along the way, you’ll learn a lot about electronics, coding, science, and engineering. Sylvia has been to the White House twice, spoken at the UN, delivered several TEDx talks and presented at countless Maker Faires around the world.


‘Beautiful Oops’ is a stand out title for early childhood age children, and in fact I think every parent should read this book too! We have such a tendency to provide our children with an eraser and tell them to rub out their mistakes, to fix them up, I know I am guilty of this! However, equally as important as fixing up mistakes is learning to live with mistakes, learn from mistakes and innovate upon our mistakes to make something even better and this book just illustrates this perfectly. Torn pages become a crocodile’s mouth, accidental blobs of paint become little pigs and coffee cup stains become frog ponds. This book encourages children to see the extraordinary in the ordinary and in the ‘mistakes’.violet-the-pilotBy the time she’s two years old, Violet Van Winkle can fix nearly any appliance in the house. And by eight she’s building elaborate flying machines from scratch and mind-boggling contraptions such as the Tubbubbler, the Bicycopter, and the Wing-a-ma-jig. The kids at school tease her, but they have no idea what sheas capable of. Maybe she could earn their respect by winning the blue ribbon in the upcoming Air Show? marvelous-mattie With her sketchbook labeled “My Inventions”and her father’s toolbox, Mattie could make almost anything – toys, sleds, and a foot warmer. When she was just twelve years old, Mattie
designed a metal guard to prevent shuttles from shooting off textile looms and injuring workers. As an adult, Mattie invented the machine that makes the square-bottom paper bags we still use today.


My full review of ‘Different Like Coco’ can be seen here. 

With eye-catching interiors and playful activities, the ‘Make Art Mistakes’ open-ended sketchbook encourages would-be artists of all ages to look at the world around them and take chances expressing what they see. This is an activity book – so it potentially more suited to a home environment – my 7 year old certainly needed this #perfectionist.

engibear-s-dream engibear-s-bridge

My full review (well actually Cathy did this review!) of these titles is here. Andrew King uses his background in chemical and environmental engineering to at once educate and entertain.  You can read more about Andrew King in this ‘Book People’ post. illustrations by Benjamin Johnston contain detailed plans of Engibear’s project. Diagrams of Bearbot’s suspension and internal combustion engine provide great incidental learning for the young engineer and are a useful cheat sheet if their parents need some *ahem* help explaining the concepts.


Rosie may seem quiet during the day, but at night she’s a brilliant inventor of gizmos and gadgets who dreams of becoming a great engineer. When her Great, Great Aunt Rose (Rosie the Riveter) comes for a visit and mentions her one unfinished goal–to fly–Rosie sets to work building a contraption to make her aunt’s dream come true. Her invention complete, Rosie attempts a test flight–but after a moment, the machine crashes to the ground. Discouraged, Rosie deems the invention a failure, but Aunt Rose insists that on the contrary, it was a raging success. You can only truly fail, she explains, if you quit (love this quote from the book!).


Young Frank is an architect. He lives with his grandfather, Old Frank, who is also an architect and his spotted dog, Eddie. Using anything he can get his hands on; macaroni, pillows, toilet paper, shoes Young Frank likes to build buildings that twist, chairs with zig zag legs and even entire cities. But Old Frank disapproves, saying architects only build buildings. One day they go to visit The Museum of Modern Art in New York City…


These bestselling books, ‘The Dangerous Book for Boys’ and ‘The Pocket Dangerous Book for Boys’ are for every boy from eight to eighty, covering essential boyhood skills such as building tree houses*, learning how to fish, finding true north, and even answering the age old question of what the big deal with girls is. In this digital age there is still a place for knots, skimming stones and stories of incredible courage.


‘The Daring Book for Girls’ is the manual for everything that girls need to know-and that doesn’t mean sewing buttonholes! Whether it’s female heroes in history, secret note-passing skills, science projects, friendship bracelets, double dutch, cats cradle, the perfect cartwheel or the eternal mystery of what boys are thinking, this book has it all. But it’s not just a guide to giggling at sleepovers-although that’s included, of course! Whether readers consider themselves tomboys, girly-girls, or a little bit of both, this book is every girl’s invitation to adventure.



Scratch is the wildly popular educational programming language used by millions of first-time learners in classrooms and homes worldwide. By dragging together colorful blocks of code, kids can learn computer programming concepts and make cool games and animations. Kids learn programming fundamentals as they make their very own playable video games. They’ll create projects inspired by classic arcade games that can be programmed (and played!) in an afternoon. Patient, step-by-step explanations of the code and fun programming challenges will have kids creating their own games in no time. These full-color comic books makes programming concepts like variables, flow control, and subroutines effortless to absorb. Perfect books for the budding programmer.


‘Chop.Sizzle.Wow’ is a highly original graphic cookbook containing 50 quick, simple and classic Italian recipes from the Silver Spoon kitchen. I’m a keen cook (Jackie not so much!!!) and I’ve loved being able to do some cooking and recipe creation in our makerspace zone…after all, cooking is all about trying, failing and understanding how things work!  Every recipe in this book is illustrated, step by step, in comic book style, taking cooks young and old, new and experienced, on a playful culinary adventure. Simple appetizers like Sweet and Sour Caponata and Tomato Bruschetta, classic main courses such as Linguine with Pesto and Chicken Cacciatore and tempting desserts like Raspberry Semifreddo and Tiramisu, are achievable for everyone and perfect for sharing with family and friends.


‘The Invent To Learn Guide to Fun’ features an assortment of insanely clever classroom-tested maker projects learners of all ages. Josh Burker kicks classroom learning-by-making up a notch with step-by-step instructions, full-color photos, open-ended challenges, and sample code. Learn to paint with light, make your own Operation Game, sew interactive stuffed creatures, build “Rube Goldberg” machines, design artbots, produce mathematically generated mosaic tiles, program adventure games, and more! Your MaKey MaKey, LEGO, old computer, recycled junk, and 3D printer will be put to good use in these fun and educational projects. With The Invent To Learn Guide to Fun in hand, kids, parents, and teachers are invited to embark on an exciting and fun learning adventure!”

Gary Stager - author of 'Invent to Learn'

Gary Stager – author of ‘Invent to Learn’

Ruby Olive Megan Pink Jacket and Who Am I Book

Are you new here? Welcome to Children's Books Daily! I’m Megan Daley and you can find out more about me here and more about my offers here.

Check out my freebie eBook, 'What to Read Next' or sign up for my FREE webinar, '3 Tips to Start the Best Book Club Ever'.

You might also like:

About Me




Leave a Comment